Results of a recent survey commissioned by NTUC FairPrice among 536 customers, reveal that more customers are bringing their own bags (BYOB) when grocery shopping. As many as two in three customers (62%, n=536) indicated that they have BYOB, over a third (36%, n=536) cited that they do so regularly, while 13% (n=536) shared that they BYOB all the time.
The results also showed how the efforts have grown quickly over the past two years – 33% (n=536) of FairPrice customers started to BYOB more than two years ago, compared to 62% (n=536) who started to BYOB in the past 6 months. A typical BYOB customer profile also seems to be more likely to be female (69% of women, n=357) rather than male (48% of men, n=179); and to be in the 35-54 years old age group (66%, n=536).
Mr Koh Kok Sin, Chairperson, FairPrice Green Committee, said, “As Singapore’s leading retailer with a heart, we are keen to leverage our vast network of stores to encourage green efforts. Our intention is to make our stores as eco-friendly as possible, find ways to raise environmental consciousness among shoppers, as well as encouraging them to Think Green and Shop Green. To encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags, we offer a variety of reusable bags and place them near our checkout counters, and have a Green Reward in appreciation and acknowledgement of those who support the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) programme. We have also introduced dedicated check-out lanes in selected outlets, to create express lanes for those who BYOB. Through such efforts, we hope more customers will inculcate the BYOB habit, and reduce the excessive use of plastic bags.”
57% of customers surveyed knew about the Green Rewards Scheme at FairPrice. The Green Rewards scheme gives customers a 10-cents rebate if they brought their own bags and made a minimum purchase of $10. FairPrice is the only supermarket retailer in Singapore to offer shoppers a rebate when they BYOB; the initiative has helped save over seven million plastic bags.
Nonetheless, only 1% of customers who BYOB (n=332) said they do so to enjoy discounts and rebates while 80% of people who BYOB (n=332) do so to be environmentally friendly and found it convenient to use only one bag for groceries. Mr Koh added, “We are very pleased that our customers who have developed the BYOB habit are doing it to reduce their impact on the environment, as they will likely also become environmentally conscious in other aspects of their life, when no direct incentive or recognition is given. The current Green Rewards scheme is something we want to sustain, to raise awareness for customers to be environmentally friendly by reducing plastic bag usage. It is not meant to be a discount programme, but to encourage everyone to start and as a constant acknowledgment to continue the BYOB habit.”
Why shoppers do not BYOB
Convenience is one key consideration for those who do not BYOB. Among the 204 respondents who have never done so, top reasons cited included finding it troublesome, inconvenient or are lazy (35%, n=204) to BYOB. Shoppers who do not BYOB also stated that their grocery shopping trips were impulsive or unplanned grocery shopping (20%, n=204) or they just did not have the habit to BYOB (16%, n=204). Only 13% of the 204 respondents cited the reason of wanting the grocery plastic bags was to throw rubbish.
While only 1% (n=332) of customers who BYOB cited the rebate as a reason to do so, one in four customers (26%, n=204) who do not BYOB, in contrast, said that a higher discount or rebate will motivate them to do so. A similar number of customers who do not BYOB also said nothing will motivate them to BYOB (27%, n=204).
Continuing to encourage BYOB
Recognising that BYOB is a habit that will take time to nurture, FairPrice has continuously implemented efforts to encourage this as well as initiatives to increase awareness about being eco-friendly.
For example, this year, FairPrice initiated the third run for our FairPrice Cares! Campaign in support of Earth Day to encourage shoppers to use reusable grocery bags and to recycle as well. It also implemented express checkout lanes called “Green Lanes” in four of its stores including its newest FairPrice Xtra store at JEM. It works closely with related organisations such as Singapore Environment Council, Southeast CDC to explore how to contribute positively to a better environment. FairPrice was also the first supermarket to encourage shoppers to BYOB daily when it introduced the Green Rewards Scheme in 2007.